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Exclusive: School Officials Gaining Union Support for Reductions to Teachers, Personnel

Union reps to school officials: 'We're coming to you, asking how we can help.'

In an effort to help absorb over over the next two school years, Westlake’s teacher unions said they're willing to make concessions on reducing compensation and eliminating personnel within the district. 

This news comes just days after the release of Superintendent Dan Keenan’s proposal to collectively reduce or eliminate anywhere from 44 to 73 administrative, teaching, classified and exempt positions from Westlake City Schools

More details will surface at Monday’s regular Board of Education meeting as Keenan and the board will start the process of calculating how much needs to be cut from personnel expenditures, which accounts for about 85 percent of the district’s $50 million annual budget. 

Keenan said he was pleased with the cooperation of Karen Herzberger and Amy Butcher who respectively head up the Ohio Association for Public School Employees (OAPSE) and the Westlake Teachers Association (WTA). 

“The WTA indicated that they wanted to be part of the solution, but voiced that they need information to understand what type of concessions would be necessary,” he said. “The OAPSE group basically gave me some parameters that they wanted me to announce to the board on Monday, but said they’re willing to do some things here.” 

Moving forward, board president and spokesman Thomas Mays shared some insights on what he and his colleagues will keep in mind as difficult decisions lie ahead in the days and weeks to come. 

“We will continue to provide the best education possible within the means that are provided to us by our taxpayers,” he said. 

“Westlake is an excellent school district and we will always strive to meet our mission. Whether you have a child in the district or not, this is a matter that affects each and every citizen of Westlake. Any city and its taxpayers benefit greatly from having a top-notch school district…” 

During next week’s meeting, school officials will update the public on Gov. John Kasich’s proposed state budget. They’ll also discuss ways to attract alternative forms of revenue that could include introducing a school levy on an upcoming ballot and offering all-day kindergarten on a tuition basis.  

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